Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They?

Subject: Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They?
From: Don Sargent <don -dot- sargent -at- TEMPLATE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 16:38:55 -0400

> From: bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM (Bill Bledsoe)

> Don, List,

> I DON'T think you need (nor I would argue want) a programming background to
> document any sort of
> development effort. What I feel you DO need is an aptitiude for this stuff,
> and to not shut-out new concepts and information as "too techie."

I agree with you completely. We hire technical communicators who
have the aptitude and desire to learn programming concepts.

How is that aptitude and desire proven to us? I see three
good ways:

o Coursework completed
o On the job experience
o Ability to discuss the concepts

For better or worse, I specify these things in my calls for
resumes. If I am stating these requirements correctly, it should
not appear I am looking for programmers.

I look for candidates with one or all of the previous. I am
not attracted to most candidates who say only, "I am sure I can do

Also, we only consider software engineers when they have a proven ability
and desire to be a very good technical communicator.

This might help demonstrate my point of view--most writers
at Template Softare have a communication-related degree and
the equivalent of a minor in CS. One writer has a BS in
Computer Science. This writer had extensive writing coursework
and spent several years writing technical proposals and newsletters
before coming here.

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